Thursday was a day of meetings, three of which were important because I met with experts in their fields.  I needed advice on a number of projects I am running and I do not have the expertise in certain areas.

It is so important to have talented people around you who are preferably better than you in certain aspects of your job/role.  I have always been fortunate to have people around me who are talented and who are able to work in an interdependent way.

When we understand that a key element of leadership is not necessarily being the one with all the information we begin to know what leadership really means.  Leadership is a very special word and the word is misused.  David Whyte suggests that the essential role of a leader today is to create a vision and an environment that people feel they can participate in, where they have a contribution to make and that they want to belong to.  This is not about consensus but a need to understand that people need to be included, have openness and an element of control in their everyday lives.  It is hard to be a good leader because it means more than just being good at your job.

The ultimate test being would people follow the leader voluntarily.

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) is a theory of interpersonal relations, introduced by William Schutz in 1958. This theory mainly explains the interpersonal underworld of a small group. The Theory is based on the belief that when people get together in a group, there are three main interpersonal needs they are looking to obtain – affection/openness, control and inclusion. Schutz developed a measuring instrument that contains six scales of nine-item questions that he called FIRO-B. This technique was created to measure or control how group members feel when it comes to inclusion, control, and affection/openness or to be able to get feedback from people in a group.  This raises is issues of significance in a group.

Inclusion relates to the issue of “do I want to be part of this group or not”? “Do I want to be in this relationship or not”? Does this group want me to be a part of it or not”?

Control means once an individual has decided to join a group, or once a group has decided that it is a group, the next focus is on doing something together and this raises the issue of what is my contribution going to be? What is my role? Clearly this raises the issue of what are my skills? Do I feel competent, is there scope to do what I do best, do I have choice, who is the best?

The final stage is the individuals relation with another person, or with a group, is to face the issue of how much their welfare and wellbeing matter to the group or the other person. This brings into issue how interested is the person or group in my welfare and wellbeing?

If these three elements meet our own personnel needs then we will be in a great place to work, if not and depending on the degree that they are not we will not be in a place that is conducive to good performance or our wellbeing.

A great exercise is to write down how a bad leader made you feel and the characteristics that were evident then do the same for the good leader.  You will see that each of the characteristics can be labeled under inclusion/control/openness.

For example

Bad leader; no input, ignored, no interest, didn’t’ know my name, lack of listening are all to do with a lack of inclusion. Bullying, locked into one style, to soft, regimented, intimidating are all to do with control. Break promises, self-serving, manipulative; fear culture are all to do with someone not being open.

If you now write a list of the good leaders attributes you will find the opposite.  Interestingly all the words are about emotion and I have done this exercise with children and hardened soldiers and the results are the same. If someone describes your style where would they place you? Would you be on the dark or the good side?  More later……….

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